With a quiet Sunday after a road trip doubleheader, we thought it’d be fitting to bring Tuesday’s preview to you a day early before the Bruins come home. Don’t say we never did anything for you, Chowdaheads!
So, the Calgary Flames are coming to Boston in a few days. In a fun twist of the schedule (and probably by design of NHL marketing), these two teams play again within a week of their only two games against each other. Fortuitous, no?
Though it’s still recent memory, it’s worth recalling that their game in Calgary last Friday got off to a wicked-hot start, with six goals in the first period. It’s rare, but a 3-3 game in essentially the first half of the first period doesn’t bode well for defensive aptitude. Good thing for Boston, they were able to staple down all of the offense and win by a 4-3 score.
Given the proximity of these two games, it’s tough to make a comparison since the first one last Friday. However, there’s some trends here that make this matchup interesting, and fortunately, the All-Star break and bye weeks provide a bit of a measuring point for us.
What has Calgary been up to lately?
Since the All-Star break, Calgary has been about even. They’re 5-6-1; the first two games out of the break were a win and loss in the shootout, followed by several one-sided tilts. They were demolished by the Edmonton Oilers after those shootout affairs, and had their doors blown off by the Chicago Blackhawks about a week ago.
These results tell a bit of the season-long story for the Flames. Despite being able to score early and often, they have not been able to put a lid on their opponents’ offensive output. For the talent that they have, no team SHOULD be losing games by four or more goals, and the Flames have done it twice in the last two weeks. That kind of loss to Edmonton might be forgivable, especially since that was before Connor McDavid’s injury; but, the Blackhawks? the KINGS?! Maybe it’s a resurgence for the Windy City, and not a lapse on their part. (We’ll secretly hope for the latter.)
What’s on the slate for Boston?
What a road trip! First off, let’s hope that the players were able to get the necessary rest after voyaging through wins in New York, Edmonton, and Calgary... and we’re choosing to omit that Vancouver game as road fatigue.
Not to mention, here we are with less than 24 hours until the trade deadline. David Backes’ time as a Bruin has ended, and the Bruins welcome Ondrej Kase. There’s been a bit of an update up front, for sure, and we’ll see what comes from tomorrow’s fervor, if anything.
Though you might expect it by now, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have been alternating between their seemingly-routine shutdowns of opponents. Hell, after the start that the Flames had last Friday, even I thought Jaro would get pulled... but no dice. he got back into focus and the skaters in front of him did the rest.
What’s the Entertainment Factor?!
This one’s hard to qualify; the easy part is that the recent game between these two teams is both real close in both calendar and scoring, so there’s not a lot of room for the two teams to change statistically in such a short span. However, the new additions for Boston are going to be an interesting experiment. The fortunate part is that Don Sweeney can stroll out his new acquisitions against a Calgary team that is struggling to put a complete product on the ice. Kase is expected to participate in a full practice on Monday, so fair to say we’ll probably see him in the lineup on Tuesday night.
The real draw, however - especially with the kind of goal-scoring we saw on this road trip from afar as New England fans on our couches - is to see this barn-burnin’ action in person.
Where else can you see the top of the NHL? Hell, you already know how. You’ve been watching them all season. It’s a helluva lot better to absorb all the excitement in person, and though we’re occasionally privileged as your resource for Bruins coverage to sit at press level, it really is always the best seat for games like this. The real challenge is finding the right spot to pregame so that you get the maximum enjoyment out of your time around the new Hub of Boston.
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